Updated: Feb 8, 2020
By appreciating the synergy between your hormones and grasping their intricate connections and relationships, you are better able to decipher your body’s make-up and channel your stressors in a positive and productive direction.
To fully understand the synergy of the human hormones in relation to our stress response system, let’s use the analogy of a cocktail party:
Cortisol is the VIP at the latest hot party. Other guests (hormones like estrogen, progesterone and DHEA) arrive at the bash and interact with cortisol in various ways—greeting it, scoffing at it, talking badly behind its back, or ignoring it. As the VIP, cortisol’s presence trumps that of all the other hormones so it doesn’t particularly care about the antics of these "less important" guests. During these interactions, and depending on the levels and functions of these other hormones, the party can turn out to be a raging success or easily get out of hand, depending upon whether cortisol keeps its cool or turns into a drunk raving lunatic. You see, when cortisol is out of whack, everything else at the "hip, hormone bash" (our bodies) is affected too!
The relationships between cortisol and the other "hormone party-goers" will be better understood if we introduce and identify the key members of the guest list. Keep in mind that all hormones are the same in both men and women – they merely differ in amount and function.
The remaining hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and growth hormone, are all anabolic hormones or "growth and repair" hormones. Their actions on bones, muscles, and other tissues are opposite that of cortisol – they repair instead of tear. Understanding this basic physiology should make it much easier for you to understand how cortisol interacts with other hormones under the influence of chronic stress.
In other words, in order to preserve your mental and physical health, I suggest you become the VIP at your own party and assign your own "body guards" in the form of healthy living habits and stress-reducing life choices to ensure that your important party guests (your hormones) are respectful and civil to one another – and more importantly, to you!